writing form: duplex

a “duplex” is a poetic form, created by jericho brown. it’s a poem of couplets (stanzas with only two lines) that grows off of itself, where the first line of each next couplet mirrors the previous line (the last line of the couplet before it) and then the last line of the couplet introduces a new idea or image. the very first and very last lines of the poem mirror each other as well. [i know hat could be confusing to be explained with no context, so check out the link and maybe read my description while going through the poem??]

while poems often involve a journey, my favorite duplexes from jericho display movement , or makes its intention moving closer to somewhere possibly more vulnerable or more honest. this feature of movement is what inspired me to attempt the form. (p.s. i’m not sure if the form has to be indented in this way, i just replicated his structure here to learn the form.)


lightning flashes before my eyes can adjust

i’ve got too much white in my eyes

a static blade gathers iris and tongue

time be going by so fast

minutes turn into echo chambers of gravel and salt so quickly

learn, unlearn, learn — splinter on

petal open to get to the truth

every step i’ve taken has been to find myself

there are so many roads to get to the self

i study my veins in winter trees

the bloodrush means we existed

the heart beats, sends lightning before i can ask why



detroit born & raised sophomore, non-binary, driven by the arts. 'waves' is being created so that its creator and (hopefully) readers may learn how to cope with- and navigate through a global pandemic together. check out my website www.smittycommittee.com

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